The growth performance of Clarias gariepinus fed with different dietary levels of processed cassava leaves and their nutrient utilized were studied for a period of 24 weeks. One hundred and forty four experimental Catfish (Clarias gariepinus) with 0.75±0.20 g mean weight and 3.9±0.31 cm mean total length were collected from Aqua-fish Consult, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. Eighteen rectangular plastic tanks were used for this study. Green cassava leaves (Manihot esculenta) were collected from a farm in Uda, Igbo-Eze North of Enugu State. The leaves were soaked for 36 h and sun-dried for one week to reduce the presence of cyanogenic glycosides. The dried leaves were ground into fine powder and analyzed for proximate composition. The experimental design used was Complete Randomized Block Design (CRBD) consisting of 18 treatments. Triplicate culture tanks in treated (L25-L100), and control groups (L0 and Ac) were stocked with eight fingerlings per square meter, respectively. The cost benefit of C. gariepinus fingerlings was estimated using weight gain and specific growth rate against management and construction cost. Weight gain, specific growth rate (SGR), feed efficiency (FE) and total length (TL) of catfish in different treatments were plotted against water chemistry parameters. This trail was conducted to access the possibility of replacing maize (Zea mays) with varying levels of whole cassava leaf meal in the diet of C. gariepinus catfish. Five isocaloric and isonitrogenous diets were formulated to contain 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100% cassava leaves to replace equal weight of maize meal. Internationally made fish feed (coppens) was also used as a control feed. All the diets were fed to catfish (C. gariepinus) fingerlings in replicate for 24 weeks. The results revealed that optimum requirement of cassava leaves level in the formulation of practical diets for improved growth of C. gariepinus was 25%.
Key words: Growth performance, nutrient utilization, Clarias gariepinu, cassava leaves.
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